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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEAugust 6, 2021
CONTACT:Kari Bray, firstname.lastname@example.org
SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. – Case rates and hospitalizations have increased sharply in recent weeks, and everyone is urged to continue or renew preventive efforts against COVID-19.
For five weeks in a row, case counts have been rising. At 198 per 100,000 population, the case rate for the two-week period ending July 31 is nearly triple what it was five weeks ago. The number of county hospital beds filled by COVID patients has tripled in the past two weeks. Currently, 63 confirmed COVID cases are hospitalized countywide.
“This is not sustainable and it’s preventable,” said Dr. Chris Spitters, health officer for the Snohomish Health District. “We’ve had almost 45,000 cases to date, over 2,000 hospitalizations and over 600 deaths. We have the means to prevent this. We need to get back in the right direction.”
The means for preventing COVID include vaccination and masking. Vaccination is the best protection against the virus, and vaccines are readily available at no cost. However, vaccination coverage is not currently high enough to confidently go unmasked in public indoor spaces. Masking is required for those who are not fully vaccinated and strongly recommended for all – regardless of vaccination status – if they will be indoors in a public location such as a store, restaurant or event venue.
Low vaccination rates, increased group interactions, and reluctance to mask up all contribute to the spread of illness. Another major contributor is the Delta variant, which now makes up the overwhelming majority of sequenced cases in Washington. A Washington State Department of Health report from Aug. 4 shows that Delta accounted for 85% of the cases that had been sequenced between July 4 and July 17. This variant appears to be twice as contagious as previous strains of COVID-19.
Vaccination does offer protection from Delta and other variants. While more breakthrough cases are occurring as Delta circulates, vaccinated individuals generally experience milder illness. Unvaccinated individuals in Snohomish County during the month of July were roughly 10 times more likely than vaccinated individuals to get COVID, be hospitalized due to COVID, or die of COVID-19.
New community-based clinics for free vaccination will be available this summer and into the fall in partnership with schools and events. A calendar is available at www.snohd.org/community-vax-clinics. This calendar will be updated frequently.
For more information on where you can get vaccinated quickly, conveniently and free of charge, please visit www.snohd.org/covidvaccine, call 425-339-5278, or text your ZIP Code to GETVAX (438829).
COVID response staff with the Health District report that there has been an increase in the number of people who are not answering or returning calls. If you test positive for COVID-19, you’ll receive a call from public health staff. It is important to answer the phone or, if you miss the call, to check your messages and return the call as soon as possible.
These calls are confidential and are crucial to helping reduce the spread of COVID-19 by identifying close contacts and heading off or quickly addressing potential outbreaks. Public health staff can provide isolation and quarantine guidance, as well as answer questions you may have about what’s next, when and how to get tested, how to prevent spread in your household, and more.
Keep in mind that:
The Lynnwood testing location will be close on Saturday, August 7, and the Everett testing site will be open instead that day from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The schedule for the week of August 8 is as follows:
Appointments for testing are encouraged, and registration is available at www.snohd.org/testing. Those without internet access or needing language assistance can reach the Health District’s call center at 425.339.5278 to schedule a testing appointment. The call center is staffed 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Callers after hours or on weekends can leave a message, which will be returned on the next business day.